The True Value of a Natural Dye
Rapid industrialization promotes high production rates and very competitive prices. Companies utilizing existing opportunities to reduce prices and gain a wider market share. The environment always become a victim of the rapid growth of the industry. This phenomenon also applies to traditional woven fabric producers in Tanglad Village, Nusa Penida. Residents in Tanglad have been making woven fabrics for generations. The production of woven fabrics in Nusa Penida generally indicates the level of social status. When people become more skilled in weaving, they will be associated with higher social status. Industrialization that occurs in this sector is the utilization of synthetic dyes for woven fabrics. Synthetic dyes have been proven to speed up production yields, not only making fabric colors last longer, but also cheaper, and shifting the production of woven fabrics as a sign of economic status instead of social status. In fact, in the past, woven fabrics were made at home for traditional ceremonies, not for sale.
The large number of users of synthetic dyes has caused the weaving group in Tanglad Village to have lost information about the technique of making natural dyes which has been their ancestral heritage for a very long time. From the first, Cepuk and Rangrang fabrics always use natural dyes because of their function in traditional ceremonies. These fabrics will certainly lose their taksu if they are made using synthetic dyes. This is what motivated I Gede Agustinus Darmawan, a mural painter, to inspire the weavers in Nusa Penida to use natural dyes. Nature has actually given us the basic colors that weavers need. The exact Examples are black and dark green using Ketapang leaves. Besides, there are also blue and purple colors using Tilapia or Tarum Leaves. Bright colors like red and yellow can be made using mahogany leaves and mango bark. By using this information, Agus organized a training regarding the use of natural colors for weaver mothers. This training is divided into two stages of activities. The first activity began in October 2018 and ended in early 2019, while the second activity began in the middle of 2019 and ended in early 2020. The type of training provided was the introduction of natural dye plants, from how to boil dyes to how to dye yarn in natural dye solution.
The training from Agus have succeeded in making weavers interested in using natural dyes, this result at the same time caused the people in Tanglad Village to return to cultivating natural dye plants. Indeed, people are still interested in synthetic dyes because the money flows faster, but they also have an inner motivation to continue to preserve naturally made Cepuk and Rangrang fabrics. Natural dyes in Cepuk cloth not only describe the beauty of the woven fabric itself, but also as a symbol of the harmonious relationship between the environment as a provider of resources and humans as the party who makes works to be presented to Ida Sang Hyang Widhi through traditional ceremonies in Nusa Penida.